Norman Brandsma, Senior Production Engineer at NS | Fleetshield
Customer stories / / 4 min

Norman Brandsma, Senior Production Engineer at NS

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS; the Dutch railway network) has been protecting rail materials with anti-graffiti film for years. Norman Brandsma, Senior Production Engineer at NS, remembers clearly how the contact with Fleetshield came about. “We wanted to see if wrapping trains could reduce the need for cleaning. It turned out to be the case.”

Graffiti removal made easy

“The number of cleaning sessions could be reduced from three to one per month,” Norman goes on to say. “This is important for the NS because taking trains out of service is costly. But also, because each cleaning session uses a lot of rinse water. Wrapping trains has enabled NS to make significant savings in costs and water. In addition, the protective film makes it easier to remove graffiti from trains without leaving smears,” the engineer points out.

“Thanks to the protective film, graffiti is easily removed from trains”

Modernising trains

He explains that the section of NS where he works modernises older trains. “We strip them down and give them a new protective coating so they can last another 18 years,” he says. Norman explains: “If you go for the anti-graffiti film, you still need the spray-on protective coating as a base to prevent rust. This way, you end up with an extra layer on the train,” Norman explains. “But thanks to the film, we can dispense with one coat of paint and the clear-coat top coat.

Optimal protection of materials

According to Norman, a major benefit of working with Fleetshield is the specialist’s ability to collaborate and come up with ideas. “This is great. Certainly in the beginning, when you are still looking for the best way to protect your materials. For example, Fleetshield looked at the cutting options for anti-graffiti film. They knew how to minimise any losses from cutting. They also advised us to use a flexible film for the front ends of the trains, so that they could also be applied nice and neatly.”

Get Fleetshield on board early

Norman advises anyone who wants to get Fleetshield involved in the preservation process to do so as early as possible. “If you are preserving a train with a protective film, it is important to have a good working relationship with the paint supplier. The film must be dry enough, otherwise the paint under the film will start to evaporate, which can cause air bubbles. But the less time you need to use heat to properly dry the paint, the faster the process can go.” Norman believes Fleetshield can help rail companies find the optimum balance.

Good work instructions

NS now covers trains in film itself, but Fleetshield still provides all the materials. “Per train, neatly in numbered containers. Complete with a drawing showing exactly which part of the film to apply and where. Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle, but one that we can easily solve.” However, Norman says it is important that the film is applied by trained fitters. “After all, no two trains are exactly the same. So, things have to be trimmed here and there. The main risk is that the protective coating might be damaged during the cutting process. Rust can form then. Apart from that, skilful application prevents unsightly bubbles and wrinkles.”


“Fleetshield packs the batches of film for the NS per run so that there is as little colour variation as possible between the different containers,” adds Norman. “All batches supplied by Fleetshield are numbered. If there is an unexpected problem with the film somewhere, it is easy to identify which batch it is. At NS, we also enter the batch numbers into our own systems, which makes it very easy to monitor the trains.

“We even had one situation where Fleetshield delivered a new film within hours”

Fleetshield’s ability to solve problems

Norman is also happy with Fleetshield’s support when it comes to planning. “This is always a challenge. After all, we are only one link in the NS train modernisation chain. That does not change the fact that the whole process comes to a standstill if, for example, something goes wrong with the application of the protective film. Fortunately, we have always been able to rely on Fleetshield in such cases. They are committed and immediately come up with a solution. They’re like colleagues. We even had one situation where they delivered new film within a few hours. That’s really fantastic. Because a day’s downtime at NS can quickly mean a loss of € 100,000.”

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